Posted by Hamid Hussain
Humans are social animals that always confront social clashes which sometimes lead them to improve but sometimes lead them to pursue in darkness; both outputs are based on the way, members of a society react upon matters.
Afghanistan has been opposing modern educational, political and social systems since ancient times. In schools, humans improve their proficiencies but schools were considered as profane phenomenon among us for a long time since schools are the resultant of modernity. The requirements of modern educational system don’t carry any ethnic and gender borders; men and women with equal rights deserve to have their hungry minds fed but we, for the first time denied the ideas of building schools and teaching both males and females equally in Amir Habibullah Khan’s period.
Modern communities have treated modern implements rationally and have gained great changes and civilizations but we are witnessing ignorance in Afghanistan because we haven’t treated modern implements rationally and have denied the modern political and social systems as once upon a time when the legislation of codified laws were introduced, spiritual leaders had held Holy Quran in one hand and the constitution in other and were asking people if they accepted the Quran or the constitution whilst in many Islamic countries both are admitted.
Social life is a continuous field of varieties and every change is a steady circuit which doesn’t end and makes us unable to deny it. For having a prosperous and advanced life, the change of circumstances’ status is a must and this is clear that Afghanistan has always stood against these changes, which has caused us to have such crises.
We need to know four significant theories for the recognition of the reasons of resistances like opposing modern systems and disputing the change of circumstances’ status in our community.
• Culture (First theory):
We have extraordinary dealing with culture because it’s one of most significant phrases in our daily life.
• Readjustment and adaption with environments (Second theory):
The relation between adaption and culture is that culture provides us the tools for adaption with both natural and social environments. For existence and survival we need to conform to both environments and this is not possible to live in a society and don’t be compatible with its language, customs, ideals and goals.
As an example, in Islamic societies, there are some obligations that members of communities should adopt for being able to live a better life among people such as having particular covering which is called “Hijab” or dealing with other Islamic commitments. So, we realize that life gets promoted stepwise to the extent we accommodate with both environments.
For example, it’s clear that we can’t extract, pull out food and other essentials of life and haven’t been able to use of our natural surroundings. Hence, we are poor since our minds are hungry and that we haven’t accorded with the environment, that’s why members of an unwise society always pursue poor and pathetic life like us.
Adaption with natural environment is clear but adaption with social environment needs to be focused on, social environment is an arena of conflict, collision and contrasts which are ensued of contradictory interests; each individual as a living creature has aims which can be in opposition with aims of other individuals in a society. Therefore, we need normative and legal systems for disposal of conflicts and to prohibit them causing war all against all and let us live comfortably in a society.
As told before that culture provides us the tools for adaption like technologies, media and industrial instruments to adapt with natural environment and provides us language, customs, ideals, goals, normative and legal operating systems to adapt with social environment. It’s true that all societies have goals and seek to reach them and goals need instruments to be achieved, we should choose the most proper instruments for which we need to obey the characteristics of rationality.
Right away we get a result of all above mentioned details about resistance that we have been opposing the change of adaptive patterns, for example by the passage of time the traditional ways of farming were changed to industrial tools in agriculture for having better results and first world countries chose industrial tools for agriculture for obtaining bread and butter but we have always been choosing traditional ways for farming, there is no doubt that they have had better livelihood than us since the chosen tools were based on features of rationality.
Or as an example in traditional ways in past, when a person committed crime so all members of the tribe were punished or that the daughter of the criminal’s family was handed over the victim’s family, these were not done because of whims, they were sorts of adaption with social environment for diminishing frictions but in other side if we use modern legal and judicial systems to solve the same case, so, of course we will have intellectual outcomes.
• Rationality (Third theory):
Now we realize that in journey along the life, humans have always changed the ways of adaption with both natural and social environments, these changes are whether led of inevitability or that modern ways are more efficient than our past irrational traditional ways. Hereof we get into the third topic called rationality.
This is obvious that rationality is one of the modern world’s manifestations, means that modern and industrial society or modern world is recognized on the concept of rationality. The simplest meaning of rationality is that we should choose the equipments for gaining our goals which are based on three characteristics:
1. We have got to choose the tools which have more profits and fewer losses means that we had better not pick out the tools which have more losses and fewer profits.
2. The second characteristic of rationality is that we have to opt the tools which are efficient means that our tools should be able to meet our goals and ideals altogether.
As an example historic social experiences have proved that imperial and royal political systems aren’t suitable tools for meeting our political purposes and that’s why people suggested and preferred democratic system rather to imperial system, since democracy has fewer detriments and is more efficient in distribution of power and in controlling of society, thus democratic system is better than any other political system.
3. The third characteristic of rationality is that we should choose the path which holds the lowest cost. For instance, treating the murder case by handing over the daughter to the victim’s family holds highest moral costs. Or using tools for construction of a building, it seems quite irrational to choose the tools which hold higher costs when we already have low costing tools.
Thus, modification of ways for facing up the terms means that mankind’s ways have always redirected to rationality for adaption with environments since beginning till now, entails that we have tried to select the tools for adaption with both environments which have more profits and fewer losses, which are efficient and which hold the lowest costs.
Therefore we should admit that change and revision in selections is a must in life and the difference that we and modern world have is only and only in selections; their selections have been rational which has resulted them to have more powerful compatibility with natural and social environments than us, thus they have been able to create a peaceful and humanitarian social environment and have been able to use of nature and provide livelihood to all members of their society.
So far, we have mentioned three main issues which are rationality, adaption and culture which have close relations; adaption and compatibility are the significant things for survival of life and the tools for adjustment are provided by culture but sometimes we select the tools that have three characteristics of rationality therefore it is called a rational handling and sometimes we select the tools which aren’t based on the rationality and hence, it is called an irrational deal.
• Past traditions called “Sonnat” in Dari (Fourth theory):
Right away, some might ask that “those who don’t deal rationally so, how do they deal?” For this we need to know the fourth theory or concept which is “past traditions” or “Sonnat”. Here we don’t mean religious Sonnat; we mean the customs which have passed on from generation to generation.
The people who treat new implements irrationally are those who give priority to “past traditions” and always compare modern models if they are meeting with their past traditions. As when democracy was introduced, so modern world asked if democratic system had more profits and fewer losses, was efficient and had low cost than imperial system, but the first question we asked was that if democracy met our tribal traditions or not. And there is no doubt that you don’t find out phrases like Christian democracy, evangelical democracy or catholic democracy in modern world societies, but in our society we witness existence of “Islamic democracy” discussions which clearly shows that “does the democratic system match our past tribal traditions or not?” If yes we accept and if not so we deny though if they have the characteristics of rationality too.
Instantly, we understand that tribal traditions have invariably caused us to oppose rationality, the modern world and its systems.
Why is “Loya Jirga” an acceptable power distributive tool in our government which is proved one of the most backward and decadent symbol? Why do people suggest playing lottery on distribution of power in government while our society is facing heavy political crises? Why?
Because the concept of “Loya Jirga” was highly compatible with our ancestors’ social and historic customs in past and we didn’t analyze it when it was gifted to us and by the passage of time the environments caused us to be entirely compatible with this concept.
Do you think customs and traditions are of our use which can’t inhibit poverty, ignorance, tyranny, contrast, tribal and social conflicts in our society? What is the use of such customs? Besides this, you know that we are concerned of our customs and traditions rather than poverty, ignorance and inequality.
In our society “Afghani honor” is considered not the case of interaction with modern world; group of Afghans were asked of their reputation by Iranians, Afghans had replied that (افغان هستیم! الحمدالله، سواد نداریم ولی غیرت داریم). Which “Afghani honor” are they talking about? Afghans have been proved the history’s faintest cowards in social experiments. What honor? Owners of the country who even can’t build half meter road for themselves, 20% to 30% of residents who are displaced in other countries and work as laborers for others, those who lean on foreign donations and say that they can’t build classes for sons and daughters of the society because they aren’t donated, do you think the owners of that society have honor? The phrase “Afghani honor” is nothing more than a junk, trash, and rubbish.
Societies have honor that broke the shelters of sky and galaxies, those who led and improved unprecedented and unparallel education and civilizations, those who established modern political systems and those who led peaceful living environment for their people.
We should admit openly that we are Afghan and neither have literacy nor honor, so, in selection of tools for adaption first of all we try to relieve our tribal traditions, those customs which have led nothing except stupor, misery, nonsense and rot in our society. Thus, the ways and tools which we have always selected have been based on past tribal traditions and this has caused us to run away of rationality.
Dr. Mohammad Jawad Sultani’s speech in a seminar.